When a former legend returns as youth coach, it’s usually a good PR story for the club. Víctor Valdés came to coach Barcelona’s Juvenil A team with much anticipation for his previous work as a youth manager, and it was also nice to invite back a key player to the club.
What should have been a relatively easy PR win turned sour very quickly, and what followed was a messy split between the coach and various figures around the club.
Valdés was even discussed as a possible first team coach in the near future, with reports saying he was ready and willing to become manager as soon as possible.
But it all ended before that, with the former keeper in a war of words with the director of La Masia, Patrick Kluivert, himself a former Barcelona player. The two reportedly had a shouting match that was the last straw for Valdés at the club.
Valdés showed his combative side from the start, dropping a hint that he was firmly opposed to Barcelona’s pursuit for Neymar over the summer. He was also sent off during a match for cursing at the referee.
Behind the scenes he continued to do things his way as well, and that seemed to cause rifts.
Details of the split have been revealed by Carles Escolán, who works for Radio MARCA. Valdés had publicly praised Escolán as “the best goal announcer in history,” calling him a “beast,” who “delights him.” It’s not a bad guess to think Escolán has at least Valdés’s side of the story.
Acabamos de contar en @RadioMARCA un par de cosas del caso Víctor Valdés. (abro hilo)— Carles Escolán (@CarlesEscolan) October 7, 2019
He tells us that in the Kluivert meeting, it was the Dutchman who first “became aggressive” when the former keeper “gave him a tactical lesson, told him to let him work, and said that Kluivert was not an example for anyone to follow.”
Another sticking point is youth star Ilaix Moriba.
Escolán says that after Moriba was benched, the player and his parents went to Kluivert. But Valdés told the player that he could not “go cry to a superior,” because the one in charge of the decision was Valdés. The youth coach was punished for “violating the internal code.”
Again, according to Escolán, Valdés loves Barça, but is worried about the internal rot inside the club. It’s also alleged that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was the one who signed Valdés personally, has not answered the former keeper’s calls in months.
Valdés apparently blames Kluivert and board member Xavier Vilajoana for making life difficult for him and doing a poor job managing the youth system.